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LifeSouth speaker Derek Daugherty at GoldCare 55+
Derek Daugherty of LifeSouth explained the critical need for blood donors at a recent Lunch 'n Learn event.

Sun, Jul 22, 2018 at 06:00 PM

Seniors learn they are important donors for a healthy blood supply

Diabetes? Blood thinners? Seniors can often give blood even with common issue that come with aging.

Aging means there are a few things you probably can’t do anymore but you’re never too old to give blood. Seniors can be blood donors because there is no age cutoff in sharing the gift of life. That was just one of the many interesting tidbits shared at a GoldCare 55+ Lunch n’ Learn with LifeSouth Community Blood Centers.

“If you have been told in the past you can’t donate blood, that might have changed,” said Derek Daugherty, regional manager for LifeSouth. “If you’re unhealthy and it may hurt you, we will not allow you to donate.”

In encouraging older folks to try to be donors, Daugherty explained that the guidelines for collecting blood change all the time. For instance, it used to be believed that diabetics could not donate. Now that is only true if a donor’s insulin comes from a cow. If not, they likely could be a regular donor. Also, blood thinners to treat stroke and heart attacks may not prevent donation. LifeSouth Supervisor Lindsey Troxter suggested people taking those medications stop in to check if it is on the banned list. If you have been told you are anemic, that could have been temporary.

Records indicate men are much more likely to have a fear of needles than women, and they often use that to dodge donating. Women have a higher rate of giving blood, possibly because they are natural nurturers and most have dealt with pain.

“If you tell a woman that her blood will save a baby, she’ll give even if she passes out,” Daugherty said. 
To illustrate the need for donated blood, he asked how many people at the luncheon had undergone a blood transfusion. Many hands went up. 

900 donors a day needed in our region

In fact, the U.S. sees 5 million transfusions a year. That translates to a need for 900 donors a day for LifeSouth to be able to serve its three-state region.

Very often when there is a large accident or natural disaster, people are quick to line up to donate. While that is a wonderful response, it’s actually too late to help people who need it in an emergency. Blood must be tested and arrive at the hospital before it is needed. That takes a couple of days and requires regular donations to maintain a safe blood supply.

“We encourage people to donate regularly because when a big tragedy happens, it’s already there,” he said. 
LifeSouth is the blood center for Marshall Medical Centers, which means that any blood donated here stays here. Only if there is a surplus do local donations go to other areas. 

“It’s the most important thing for patients in the hospital,” Daugherty said. “We urge you to do this if you are eligible.”

Reserve your spot at monthly Lunch n’ Learns by calling 256-571-8025 (256-753-8025 for Arab area residents) at least a week in advance. Cost $5. Lunch is served at 11:30 and program begins at noon. For more information on GoldCare 55+ visit